RunDisney races- always early, well-organized and IMO Super-fun! This weekend was Star Wars themed. Now, I used to be a huge Star Wars fan. I nerded-out reading all the published books that expanded on the original three movies and loved it. Then the new movies came out, and, of course none of them followed the books I read, so the world I envisioned was destroyed, and although I was happy to see the new movies, I never became a huge fan. However, I couldn’t object to a trip to Disney for a race, and the original movies are a big focus of the races. Plus, the course should be the same as the last 10K I raced prior to the baby adventure (I thought the course would be the same in August when I signed up for the race – it was not).
Dark and early wake-up at 2:30am I usually can get ready in 15 minutes for a race, but this time. I needed time to pump milk and get completely dressed before my brother arrived at 3:15am to watch DD sleep during the race. Everything went smoothly and I was on the bus to the start by 3:30. I like to arrive early to avoid any stress and get in the corral when they open so I can start towards the front without too much of an issue. The 10K doesn’t require proof of time for getting in the first corral, so there is small amount of people that provide the wrong estimated finish time, and then force their way to be on the line at the start. I’m not about to get in the middle of that trampling-pushing-mess, but I like to start in the first wave (where I should with my predicted pace).
5:30 start time – right on time and with a beautiful firework sendoff, and obligatory StarWars music.
I started a little farther back than other times I’ve run Disney, about 15 seconds off the start, but in the first wave, so not a big deal. I didn’t want to waste energy, so I tried to keep an even pace and avoid weaving around people too much, and there were a lot of people to weave around. However, it only took less than an 8th of a mile to get by the mess and settle into a comfortable pace. My plan was to pick a “comfortable hard” pace and only look at my watch when the mile buzzed.
Mile 1- nothing much to note after finding my place and comfortable pace. It felt like a sufficiently easy pace that I could probably maintain. BUZZ BUZZ- my watch read 7:06 – Well, that’s faster than I thought -cool! I wonder if/when I will crash. Just keep going until you can’t.
Mile 2- This is a completely straight road and feels maybe slightly downhill, but probably is just perfectly flat. There was some video screen entertainment and remixed StarWars music, nice to keep you moving along. I kept moving at what felt like a consistent effort, maybe I felt a little more strained, but still “comfortably hard.” BUZZ BUZZ – 6:55 – huh, that’s even faster, and I don’t feel like crap – maybe my watch isn’t working right, but the mile markers are matching up. Just keep going until you can’t.
Miles 3 and 4- This is where the hills were located. Florida hills (i.e. overpasses), but still- hills. I felt powerful on the up hills and cruised to recover my breath on the downhills. I guess pushing approx. 50 pounds up slight hills during training was useful! I passed 2 women on the hills but was starting to feel like I was working some by the end of mile 4. BUZZ BUZZ – 7:06 then BUZZ BUZZ – 7:00. Still holding pace, I’m probably going to slow, but maybe 45 is going to happen! Just keep going until you can’t. Just keep going until you can’t. Just keep going until you can’t.
Mile 5 – You enter EPCOT and there are a lot of turns through this mile. I was feeling it now. It was starting to hurt, and 1 of the 2 women I passed on the hills was able to pass me back on the flat. I kept her in my sight, but knew I couldn’t reel her in, at least not the way I was starting to feel. BUZZ BUZZ – 7:30. Crap- that was a lot slower but felt even slower than that. If I hold this pace, I will be under 45!!!! Just keep going until you can’t. There’s only 1 mile left…Give it all you got. You can push through pain…do it now! Go, go, go!
Mile 6 – Around the world of EPCOT – I’ve run this numerous times. A nice curved loop of 5 - 10 foot slight hills. I could push it-I KNOW THIS LOOP-JUST GOOOO!. It was a new sensation, and a wonderful one at that. Like never happened before in a race for me, I was able to pick up the pace in the final mile. I could feel the increase in speed- So much fun! One-two-three-four, One-two-three-four, One-two-three-four- Just keep going until you can’t. I like to count to 4 over and over and over again when I want to distract my brain. It also serves to keep my step cadence up and regulates my breathing. These were the only thoughts in my head for the last 1.2 miles – Even the loud remixed Starwars music couldn’t distract me. BUZZ BUZZ – 7:14!!!! Only 0.2ish left – PUSHHHHHHH ITTTT!!!! My tangent running isn’t too bad, but I know it’s always going to be more than 0.2.
The finish line – I could see the woman in front of me – about 10 - 15 seconds. There was no catching her in less than a quarter mile, and I wasn’t concerned about that – I just wanted under 45 at this point. You can see the line with about 30 seconds left of running. The announcers call out the finisher’s names at this point since there are not too many, unlike later in the race, when there are so many finishers they could never keep up. I heard them announce the woman in front of me – followed by “she’s a top-ten finisher.” The clock is well under 45, and I was off the start…45 minute 10K here I come! Wait – what? Did he just say she was in the top ten? She was probably 10th – still 11th would be awesome. Yay! - “My Name” was announced! Two male names - sprint! Don’t let them pass! Well under 45 minutes now! Did he say anything after my name – I don’t remember – oh well. Across the line YESSS– the clock is STILL well under 45!! I DID IT!! Wait, I just heard the next woman coming down the home stretch’s name, and she’s in the top ten too… That means I must be in the top ten! Is that right?? Could I be in the top ten finishers?? At this point, I was stopped by an official writing my number down – I guess I am in the top ten – nobody has ever cared about my number before. TOP TEN!!!! Weeeeeeee! Cue the tears and overly large stupid grin on my face. Final official time was 44:28 - I couldn’t believe that I crushed my “A” goal AND came in 7th overall woman (8th by net time) and 2nd I my age group! It was my fastest 10K in over 5 years, and my 3rd fastest ever – less than a minute off my PR! Watch out PR – I’m coming for you!
Plus, on the bus and back to the hotel before DD woke up for the day!
Now I can’t go to a RunDisney weekend without doing the “challenge” of the 10K on Saturday and the Half marathon on Sunday… stay tuned to see if I “blew up” on the Half or not! Last time with the same training plan but on the treadmill, I ran a 45:32 10K and had a “super-happy” half marathon finishing in 1:44. My goal for the Half was to “run happy” again, and see what time that resulted in. In the back of my mind I was hoping that would result in under a 1:45 since I had done several 10 mile runs during training at around 8:15 min/mile.